The Guide to Traveling on Alaska With Pet Cargo

Low cost and flexibility make Alaska one of the most pet-friendly airlines in the industry.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Edited by Meg Lee

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Heading out on vacation can be fun, but what happens when you have pets at home? Whether it’s a beloved cat or the family dog, leaving them behind can leave you with more stress than it’s worth.

Thankfully, there are a number of airlines that’ll allow you to travel with your pets, whether that’s in the cabin or as cargo. Alaska Airlines is one of these — and it’s one of the best options out there for those traveling with pets.

Let’s take a look at the Alaska Airlines pet policy, what it looks like to fly with pet cargo and requirements for bringing your pet in the cabin.

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Alaska Airlines pet cargo policy

There are two ways Alaska Airlines allows you to bring your pet as cargo: traveling on the same flight as you or separately — and the requirements are different for each.

Traveling on the same flight

If you’re going to be flying at the same time as your pet, you’ll need to check your pet to travel within the climate-controlled baggage compartment.

Here are the criteria for doing so:

  • Pet and carrier combined cannot exceed 150 pounds. 

  • The fee is $150 one way.

  • Accepted animals include cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, nonpoisonous reptiles, potbellied pigs, rabbits and tropical fish.

  • You must have a health certificate issued by a veterinarian. 

For travel within the state of Alaska or active duty military (and their dependents) the cost to check a pet is $100.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Recent NerdWallet analysis found the average pet fee to be $113 across major U.S. airlines.

In order to book your pet's travels, you’ll want to either call Alaska Airlines at 800-252-7522 or use its website's chat feature to secure a reservation.

This can be done after booking your own flight, but it’s better to do so sooner rather than later as the number of pets allowed in the baggage compartment is limited.

🤓Nerdy Tip

JSX allows pets of up to 79 pounds to travel in the cabin.

There are some restrictions for breeds and younger animals. For example, pets with snub noses, such as bulldogs and Persian cats, are unable to travel in the baggage compartment.

Finally, there are some limitations when it comes to traveling during certain periods of the year.

Those on Alaska flight numbers 2000-2999 or 3300-3499 are unable to check pets in the baggage compartment from Nov. 15 to Jan. 10 each year due to weather.

Shipping separately

If you won’t be traveling on the same flight as your pet, it’s still possible for them to catch their own flight. Alaska Airlines’ Pet Connect service is available on specific flights subject to weather conditions and destination.

Like checking your pet as baggage, you’ll need to meet a series of requirements, including providing access to food and water, a comfortable and sturdy carrier and a health certificate.

For unaccompanied pets, Alaska only allows travel during periods when the temperature is between 45 and 85 degrees. It’s possible to make an exception provided you have a vet letter stating that your pet is acclimated to more extreme weather types.

Pet Connect reservations can be made between 30 days and 24 hours prior to travel, though there are different requirements if some of the travel takes place on another airline.

The same breed restrictions apply for Pet Connect flights as for checking your pet as baggage, so be sure to double-check before booking.

» Learn more: How to fly with a dog

Alaska Airlines in-cabin pet options

If your pet is small enough to fit under an airline seat, they’ll be able to travel in the cabin with you. Alaska Airlines doesn’t specify a weight requirement for pets, though they must be able to stand up and turn around in their carrier under the seat.

  • The fee is $100 one way. 

  • Acceptable animals include cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds. 

  • You must be 18 or older to travel with a pet in the cabin. 

  • Your pet counts toward your carry-on allotment. 

  • You can travel with a maximum of two pet carriers in the main cabin if you also purchase an adjacent seat. 

  • Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old. 

  • The pet must stay in the carrier at all times. 

  • Up to two pets of the same species can travel in one carrier provided they fit comfortably. 

There is a limited number of pets allowed in the cabin on each flight. In first class, up to three pets can be accommodated. In the economy cabin, up to eight pets are allowed per flight.

How flying with pets on Alaska compares to other airlines

According to a recent NerdWallet analysis on the best airlines to fly with pets, Alaska Airlines is the best when it comes to pet-friendly airlines.

It beat out all other competitor airlines to take the top spot for those traveling with pets. This is thanks to a number of factors, including how many animals you’re allowed to bring, the cost of traveling with a pet and the types of animals allowed.

Other things that were considered include whether the airline offers cargo services, if you’re allowed to bring your pet to the lounge and how well they handle pet transport.

Final thoughts on Alaska Airlines pet cargo

Alaska Airlines’ pet policies are some of the best in the business, with great options for those looking to travel with their pets.

This is true whether you’re planning to bring them in the cabin or check them as cargo. Its prices are among the lowest for airline pet travel and the variety of animals it accepts is more generous than most.

However, you’ll want to note that there are still some restrictions involved with the breed of animal that can fly, as well as dates during the year when traveling with pet cargo is unavailable.

Before you book, do your research to ensure that your pet meets all the requirements of traveling on Alaska Airlines.

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